Santorini: Oia to Fira hike and being surrounded by the Aegean Sea

A view of the Aegean Sea with some Greek style blue dome buildings in the bottom left.
The iconic blue domes

Last year we spent some time in Greece, and somehow I ran out of steam when it came to Santorini—both of the energy it took to blog about the whole trip, and for the city of Santorini itself. I might have been a little quick to judge, and we did only spend two nights on the island, but they were enough to make me not really want to come back. Santorini is beautiful, I’ll give it that, but as the last stop on our Greece trip, it felt like a facade. The city is rife with tourism. If you don’t mind that, then you’re in for a treat, because the city is gorgeous with incredible views of the Aegean Sea everywhere you look.

We had booked some very luxurious accommodation which we had credit for due to our trip being cancelled in 2020 because of COVID. Unfortunately, by the time we re-booked, prices shot up, so we had to pay extra, and it felt incredibly expensive. Many other options in Santorini were expensive, too. We tried to make the most of our accomodation because of this.

Stone steps leading to a decorated grey arch doorway. The sea is in the background.
The entrance to our hotel

After we arrived we took some time to look around Oia, near our hotel, and see some beautiful views of the island.

A view of the Aegean Sea with some raised walkways and Greek island style buildings on the edges of the frame, and some boats in the water.
A beautiful view with the Aegean Sea.
Many light coloured buildings in the town of Oia, Santorini.
Wow, incredible. In person this all looks exactly as it is in the photos.
White buildings lining the rocky surface of the island of Santorini, with some of the volcanic rock exposed.
Yet another view on the Oia side

On our first night we caught up with my friend Pauline again because she made a last-minute decision to visit Santorini while she was also in Greece. We were amazed by—and I didn’t get a photo of this because it was near impossible—the moon rising over the island, shaded in red because the sun was still setting even though the sky was dark. It was an incredible view.

Two women in a lit pedestrianised street in the evening, with their arms around each other and smiling.
Me and Pauline!
The moon rising above the sea, with a yellow glow that reflects on the water.
That’s a moon rise if I ever did see one.

The following morning I was very keen to try and see the sunrise from our hotel, but we were staying in Oia, and its location made seeing first light quite difficult. The sky was incredibly blue and it was bright by the time I saw the actual sun.

A view of the white buildings of Oia, with little sunlight on them. The sun is not visible but it appears to be sunrise. The sea in the background is still.
Attempting to see the sunrise from our hotel
Two large tables set with white tablecloth and an assortment of breakfast food and drinks. A view of the Aegean Sea is in the background.
I do not think we ate all of this. There was so much food.

After eating breakfast at our hotel, we headed out as early as possible to do the famous hike from Oia to Fira. I read details about it on the Santorini Dave website and it does give a lot of useful information, tips, and photos. The one thing I had to disagree with was the quote from a passionate hiker that this was the best hike they had done not only in Santorini, but in their life.

Me, Georgie, an Asian woman with short dark hair, wearing a checkered top and shorts, standing in front of a short white wall with a sign reading “walking path to Fira”.
10km, let’s go

To this day I’m not entirely sure what hike has blown my mind, but Cradle Mountain was a wonderful hike even though we happened to get shit weather, and I may be purely biased by our hike to the top of Monemvasia. The Oia-Fira hike was beautiful, with beautiful views everywhere, and it was challenging enough, but I feel like it’s a big claim to say it was the best hike in my life. 🤔 Let me get back to you on this one. I won’t refrain from sharing the gorgeous photos though.

A view of the town of Oia from a high vantage point, showing many small white buildings. In the background is the Aegean Sea and the sky is very blue and bright.
Looking back on Oia
A path on the side of a large hill with some arid farmland in the background and down beyond the bottom of the hill.
A bit of a view of farmland and valleys
Me, standing on a part of the hiking path that looks out onto the white buildings of Oia and the blue Aegean Sea.
Larger than life.

Although we were prepared, and left as early as we could, it got hot very quickly. We had a couple of snacks on hand. I really wanted to attempt to hike Skaros rock when we walked past, but even though it looked close, it would add about another two hours onto our entire hike.

A large imposing rock jutting out from the mainland of an island, with the sea in the background.
Approaching Skaros Rock
The same large rock outcrop as the previous photo but closer, with long trails leading up to it.
An even closer view of Skaros Rock—those paths are a lot bigger than they look

We got close enough to get some photos. I thought it would provide an incredible view, and The Common Wanderer has a detailed post about it, but it looks like it could still be somewhat dangerous to climb because of the lack of safety features.

A man in a blue shirt standing next to a large rock formation on the island of Santorini, Greece
Nick and Skaros rock for size. 😂🪨
A view of the town of Fira, Santorini, a town with many white buildings built up the rocky cliff and being close to the sea.
The town of Fira (Thira)

We spent some time looking around Fira but it was very crowded and after some time, most of the shops started to look the same and targeted at tourists. We moved away from the main pedestrianised streets and found a spot to eat tacos before getting a bus back to Oia, and having a much-needed rest and a dip in the pool. The hike was about ten kilometres and had taken us just under three hours to do. I think that having sturdy shoes is pretty important as there were some steep areas with gravel/loose rocks, and you want to make sure you have a good grip on those areas. Apart from that, there were not too many steep hills or steps. If you are reasonably fit you will be alright.

Me, Georgie, sitting at a table with tacos served on a tray. I am smiling and have my head resting on my hand that is propped up on the table at my elbow.
She dreams of tacos

There were not a lot of places to eat that weren’t touristy, so we ended up eating dinner at a restaurant on the main street. It was still pretty good though. We had a little walk around Oia the next morning to suss out what it was like before crowds arrived. A very different place, I’ll tell you that! Also, most of the shops were closed.

A small top of a building with the popular Greek appearance of a blue dome and a cross on top of it.
The elusive blue dome everyone wanted a photo with. Except me, apparently.

It was great to experience Santorini, but as I say about other places that I visit and don’t love—I’m not in a hurry to visit again.

Other posts about this trip:

Many thanks for reading! 💙

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